Things I Think I Can Say (In French) But Can’t Really Say (In Any Language Other Than English)

L’esprit de l’escalier.

It’s French & if the snippet of the (photo of the) newspaper that I read is accurate, it is translated as ‘staircase wit.’ Staircase wit is what it’s apparently called when you think of a clever comeback after it’s too late to deliver it.

Story of my life.

It’s at the top of my list of reasons why I prefer writing over actually talking to people. I can think about what I want to say before all kinds of unwelcome thoughts just spew out of my mouth like word-vomit. Organization, making sure what I’m saying is actually what I mean; that’s what I need. Versus when I’m having a conversation & I say something stupid & realize that is not at all what I meant or else that it’s what I meant, but not the way I meant to say it.

Speaking of saying things, I really need someone to tell me how to pronounce that French word because when I say it, it sounds like I’m hacking up a gallon of phlegm with a thick southern drawl & vaguely Spanish consonants.

However, I can say “vis ma vie” quite clearly.



3 thoughts on “Things I Think I Can Say (In French) But Can’t Really Say (In Any Language Other Than English)

  1. I didn’t realize there was actually a term for that phenomena. I, too, suffer from staircase wit. I think it’s a writer’s affliction.

    As far as pronunciation without phlegm, the only thing I can offer is trying to say things in Hebrew. Then it won’t make the French seem quite a phlegmy. That whole perspective thing.

  2. Luckily, I’m known for my quick comebacks. The talent has improved with age, though. I’m with you on things not being taken the way you intend them. It’s more of a worry in writing for me than in speaking because the reader may take things out of context and you can’t always clarify. I really upset someone in a text and I wasn’t trying to be mean or funny at all!

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